Winds of War

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I know I have been quiet lately. Too many things to think about with a less than enthusiastic attitude to write about the same things over and over again. But I need to begin with something that I have always thought about when I was a kid. Only the people in my generation and older would know what the Cold War was like in the 80’s before the Berlin Wall came down and the old Soviet Union was dissolved. Nuclear War was a reality in our minds.

While I never had to go through the bomb drills that my parents went through, I still had a very healthy fear of a full nuclear strike. I was convinced that hatred between the United States and the U.S.S.R would one day boil over and the cockroches will end up ruling the earth. There was always something going on that the US needed to be involved with and yet there were either scandals like Iran/Contra or the fact that we allowed Iraq to use chemical weapons (and Ronald Regan is the greatest president to some people). I never understood the need to be in such conflicts when poverty is so rampant around our own country.

Yesterday many people celebrated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Many people spoke including President Obama. I respect the legacy and the significance of Dr. Martin Luthor King Jr. and this date, but I was not exactly excited to hear anyone speak. The fact of the matter is that the progress of equal rights for all has been slow. We are often under the illusion that things are better when statistically things are no better or maybe even worse than the civil rights era. So we can go ahead and live in a world where things seem OK when things really aren’t.

Now we stand on a brink of another war. A war that really has nothing to do with us. We Supesvoted for a change and what we are getting are speeches about change. I feel foolish now because so many times in the past I have talked to my students and colleagues about global citizenship and how social media has made the world smaller and yet we are still operating in the age old notion of colonialism where we teach the natives to behave for the benefit of the world. Meanwhile, the word around us is being distracted by the appropriation of a twerking Miley Cyrus in a gentrified Brooklyn.

I am also quite sure that there the though of the United Stated being the heroes who came in to save the day. Leaders of the free world that come swooping in like Superman to save Lois from Zod with no real recognition that the battle will destroy more than it saves and in the end we all wonder why we even paid for any of it (Yes, I am still bitter about the movie).

Where is the dream? Where are the little black children holding hands with the little white children? Dr. King was a well known pacifist that knew wars lead to the poor heading out to battle. These days, the Armed Forces will pay for college if you give them a certain amount of years of service and of course there is a nice check to live on assuming you can get rid of your PSD. I don’t recall that part of the dream where we invade other countries in pursuit of justice especially when justice doesn’t seem to exist much at home.

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The Political Jokes are on US.

Maybe this is what we need…

You know, I laugh because we are indeed at a pinnacle point in our history. Well, at least in the time I have been alive. I can say that because this election is that important. I laugh because it seems like politics have become so extreme. You are either on one side or the other and those sides are so far apart that it makes it hard to really have a critical debate on things. I laugh because people can be married to the lies that are told and are not willing to hear the truth…not matter what that is.

No politician is perfect. No US President has been perfect. Each one of them had chinks in their armor. You can look at Lincoln, Kennedy, Reagan, FDR, Bush(s), Clinton, and Nixon as just a few examples of what can be good or bad depending on history or party affiliation. For every good thing they do, the opposing party will give you a list of things they did horribly. In many cases, each party will talk about some of these eras being dark ones and there was a need for America “to get back on track.” Yet, for the most part, the rich remain the rich, the poor are still poor, and the middle class just remains in the middle.

I laugh because there is a joke somewhere in there. A joke that not many of us get and one I may not fully understand myself. Maybe the joke is that nothing really ever gets better perhaps everything is an ebbs and flows. Maybe the joke is that no matter how much we fight, one class of people with get taxed; the middle class or the rich and yet the poor will remain largely ignored. What is almost funny is how the liberals want to help the unfortunate and the conservatives find it unfortunate that people can’t help themselves.

The fact is most people are like sheep because no one really thinks critically anymore. They just assume that if something is said by someone in government then it must be true. If things are in History books than it must be true. There was a time when a politician lied and was proven wrong by a fact checker that this individual would lose points in the polls but we live in a bizaro world where the President is Black and his stature is always questioned. Sure, we all called George W dumb and Bill Clinton a womanizer, but there was a level of respect you gave to the position. Yet, Obama seems to get less respect than either and he is smart and a happily married man!

Sure, one can say that Bush had shoes thrown at him and we giggled, but that was not in America. I can guarantee that all us had at least seen one picture of Barak Obama as a monkey or in a noose. I dare anyone to try to defend that. Yet, that is another joke that conservatives do not get. No matter how hard you work, the color of your skin will always be a factor. I mean, I am sure you can point to Oprah Winfrey and say that she is a success, however she is just one “nigger” slur away from the rest of us.

We are indeed at an interesting time. Am I the only one who has noticed that being poor has been deemed as a burden to the rest of society? Apparently, coming across hard times quickly turns to an unwillingness to work so the they can get free healthcare and food stamps. The best part of this joke is that socialism is constantly being shouted out by people because taxing the rich (plus giving a break to the middle class) and using that money to help others is wrong. But if you use the conservative model of taxing the middle class while giving breaks to the rich to use that money to help others is the correct model!

I am quite sure there conservatives will say that the wealthy getting breaks helps big business create jobs, but the thing is I do not buy that idea because people who have money love to keep money. Yet, governmental programs have to be paid for…who is gonna pay for it? (Hint: You) Either that, or the deficit increases. Notice one really says who we owe money to (besides China).

Finally, I laugh because the joke is really on us. Most of us go through life not paying attention to the things that are happening around us. Most of us are distracted by the house/basketball wise, the jersey shores, the dancing stars, the iphone/ipads, facebook, and fantasy sports to realize that our society is getting dumber, fatter, and sicker. And while all that is happening, you have a political party that trying its hardest to restrict the elderly and the minorities the right to vote in battle ground states. Democrat and Republicans must agree that is wrong.

Maybe…just maybe, the real joke is that we are no longer a society in which race matter maybe it is all about class; about the haves and the have nots.

LBC 2012 Day 6 – Immigration: For or Against?

American Progress by John Gast
is an allegorical representation of the modernization of the new west.

(Let me preface this whole challenge by saying that I know that I am late….but this is me catching up)

This entire immigration debate makes me laugh. Throughout the course of American History, the US has had no problem declaring how much of a melting pot this nation is. You can go to Ellis Island and see the list of names of all the people who crossed our boarders looking for a better life. One can also go back into history and realize that our entire country is basically built on the fact that people from other nations have to come to this land to claim a place to call home.

From the moment European settlers came to this land and decimated the original people who lived here, there has been this debate about people who are crossing boarders. Yet, it has been Americans who have crossed boarders and called it the Western Expansion or the Manifest Destiny. This was our country’s view of expanding or realm of freedom by driving out the Native Americans and pushing Mexicans south.

Our views of immigration become very convoluted with modern rhetoric about people who come to this country and take American Jobs. Most of time, the media puts a face behind these “immigrants” and those just happen to belong to Latinos (Mexicans to be more specific). Yet, there is very little attention paid to other types of immigrants that may be lighter in skin tone as if most immigrants who are European know exactly what they are doing.

The problem with the belief of jobs being taken is the simple fact that most of the jobs that these undocumented immigrants are mostly working are jobs that many Americans do not want anyway. Fruit Picking? House Keeping? Sure, the argument is that undocumented workers are willing to work for less thus pushing down the wages and making that job unattractive to the US Worker, but isn’t that the fault of the people who are signing the checks? They are the ones who want to make more profit. And let’s just say that these places do stop hiring these immigrants and just hire Americans for higher wages, the price of that product or service increases and then we will really complain.

My real issue with this whole idea of just pushing everyone out comes down to the issue of judgement. Many people assume that all undocumented immigrants are in this country for a negative reason. Not everyone has the same story. This need to lump everyone into one thing becomes very discriminatory and of course, in America, that is not surprising.

I am for immigration because this country was founded by immigrants. But, when history is written in a certain way that celebrates people like Columbus for “discovering” a country that was already populated then it is no surprise that the fight for immigration becomes a bloody one.